A little-known 17-year-old from Uzbekistan made a clean sweep of Magnus Carlsen and the world chess elite on Tuesday, by the way, setting a new world age record. Nodirbek Abdusattorov won the world rapids championship in Warsaw, claiming en route the scalp of Magnus Carlsen and the last two rivals of number one, Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi. In rapid chess, each player has 15 minutes for all moves, plus an increment of 10 seconds per move.
After 21 rounds of three-minute matches on Wednesday and Thursday, France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave defeated Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda in a tie-break to win the Blitz world title. The 18-year-old world No. 2 Alireza Firouzja was third, but Carlsen was adrift in twelfth place. He said, “Some days you just don’t have it. It wasn’t anywhere near the level it needed to be today. “
At 17 years and three months, Abdusattorov becomes the youngest world champion ever in open competition, beating Ruslan Ponomariov at 18 in the Fide version of the then disputed classic crown in 2001. The next youngest were 22 years: Garry Kasparov in his first win over Anatoly Karpov. in 1985, and Daniil Dubov and Sergey Karjakin by winning speed titles. The women’s world championship has a younger record, as Hou Yifan won it in 2010 at age 16, after being the finalist defeated two years earlier.
Early in his burgeoning career, the teenager from Tashkent had won the U-eight world championship, defeated two grandmasters at age nine, and was featured in this column when he came close to failing to become the youngest GM in history. all 12.
Abdusattorov had his share of good luck in Warsaw, surviving three lost positions, but he also played a very strong field where Levon Aronian and Boris Gelfand were among his other victims.
After 13 rounds, he was in a quadruple tie at 9.5 points with Carlsen, Caruana and Nepomniachtchi, but regulations excluded Carlsen and Caruana from the play-off due to their inferior tiebreakers. An angry Carlsen denounced the rules as “idiots. Either all the players with the same number of points join the play-off or none do. “
It was a balance of luck for Nepomniachtchi, who in this same event and under the same rules in 2017 was excluded from the play-off, but the Russian was outmatched in the tiebreaker games. Abdusattorov easily tied with Black and then won the second game despite missing mate twice near the end.
Abdusattorov is the second Generation Z player, defined as people born between 1995 and 2010, to reach the top of chess. Firouzja, whose victories in Latvia and Slovenia last month made him No. 2 behind Carlsen in the world rankings, was out of shape in Warsaw on the rapids but finished strong in the three-minute blitz to take the medal for bronze and narrowly missed the Play-off Vachier-Lagrave – Duda.
Yet another Generation Z player rose to fame when 17-year-old Bibisara Assaubayeva captured the silver medal of the women’s world rapids championship with 8.5 / 11, half a point behind Russia’s “chess queen”. , Alexandra Kosteniuk. The Kazakh teenager did even better in the women’s blitz, reversing the result to take gold to silver from Kosteniuk.
Uzbekistan has long exceeded its weight in world chess. Four of his teenagers did well at last month’s Grand Swiss in Riga, while 16-year-old Javokhir Sindarov finished eighth in the blitz in Warsaw ahead of many of the world elite.
Long ago, the former USSR set the standard for young talents with a golden generation that included David Bronstein, Tigran Petrosian, Ewfim Geller, and Mark Taimanov. England in the 1970s followed the Soviet pattern with Jon Speelman, Nigel Short, Michael Adams, and later Luke McShane, Gawain Jones, and David Howell. India and the US are doing better now with super squads, but Uzbekistan is showing what even a small nation can achieve with the right approach to developing an elite.
Fide has announced that the eight-player 2022 Candidates will be featured in Madrid from June to July 2022, sponsored by the Scheinberg family, who have previously supported openings on the Isle of Man and whose fortune comes from the sale of PokerStars for almost $ 5. bn.
So far, the qualifiers are Nepomniachtchi (loser of the 2021 title match), Caruana and Firouzja (Riga Grand Swiss), Sergey Karjakin and Jan-Krzysztof Duda (World Cup), Teimour Radjabov (Fide nominee), and the remaining two will come from the Fide Grand Prix in Berlin and Belgrade in February-March 2022. The Candidates and their winner have become even more important than usual after Carlsen’s announcement that he will only defend his title if the Challenger is of the new generation, so he raises the stakes for the top two Candidates who could end up playing each other for the supreme crown.
3796: 1 Rc1! Qxa6 2 Rxc4! bxc4 3 Qh3! and white makes a second queen. The trap is 1 Rd8 ?? Qxa6 2 c8 = Q Qa1 + 3 Kg2 Qf1 mate.